Inputs versus Outputs

When only the best bid can win, be the best bidder.

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Let’s consider for a moment that every invitation to tender represents a commissioner with a problem. Of course, they rarely explain in the issued documents quite what their problem is, they just detail their solution to it in the specification.

The specification is in essence a series of inputs; products, services and standards that each bidder requires to meet. Meeting the specification is of course a prerequisite to compliance, without which the bid cannot win. However, merely meeting the specification does not deliver the win, after all every competent bid will be compliant, but there will only be one winner.

In order to win, we must look beyond the specification, and consider the outputs that the tender specification implies. Or put another way, what problems is this specification designed to solve?

Once we have identified the problems to be solved, we can start speaking to the solution, describing not only what we will do and how we will do it, but the good things that will happen as a consequence of our bid being selected. This then becomes our reason for bidding in the first place. We are no longer bidding to provide a product or service, we are offering to solve their problems.